Saturday, June 24, 2006

Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator

Eighth-grader Gilda lives in Michigan with her mom and brother Stephen. It is the end of the school year and everyone in her class is talking about the trips they are going on and camps they are going to over the summer. Gilda is not paying attention. Instead she is reading her favourite book : The Master Psychic's Handbook, by Balthazar Frobenius. When her teacher asks Gilda what she is going to do for the summer she blurts out that she is going to California to write a novel. This is not exactly the truth. But if Gilda is anything, she is relentless. And before you know it, Gilda gets herself invited to San Fran to stay with her mother's distant cousin Lester and his daughter Juliet.

The Splinter household is very different from Gilda's home. The huge museum-like house is devoid of anything personal, and Lester and Juliet keep to separate wings. The tower in the back is all boarded up. Gilda soon learns this is because Juliet's Aunt Melanie had committed suicide from the tower 10 years earlier.

Gilda is bound and determined to solve the mystery of the boarded up tower, and figure out why Lester refuses to talk about anything. With the help of Balthazar Frobenius, some disguises, and her cousin Juliet Gilda uses her talents as a psychic investigator to do more than just solve mysteries!

This book is appealing on so many levels, yet truly hard to describe. Gilda's character seems so young, but the topics of suicide and depression are sophisticated and give the story more of a YA feel. I really liked Gilda and admired her spunk, and Juliet is intriguing in her teen angst. Some plot points of the ghost story within are scary, then the reader finds herself laughing on the next page.

I think that Jennifer Allison has done an amazing job writing an entertaining and intriguing story. I would recommend this to readers from 7th - 9th grade.

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